Every time I get a new volume of D.Gray Man, I think to myself why don’t more people read this? I realize it is not an unpopular series but it also doesn’t seem to have really stuck around. This may be partially due to it moving from the prominent Weekly Shonen Jump magazine to the monthly Jump Square. There is a lot of shonen fighting manga out there, so it is easy to miss one. And besides that, picking and choosing what is worth settling in the long haul with can be difficult.
D.Gray Man combines supernatural powers and occult lore with the shonen fighting formula. The gothic and macabre designs are well utilized giving life to everything from the obvious horror to less imaginable whimsy and humor. The art overall is a real treat in the series; the details in the European setting to costume and architecture are wonderful. Allen Walker possess a power called Innocence that can be harnessed to defeat demons and the like. The organization known at the Black Order recruits people with these gifts in an ongoing war against the Millennium Earl and his dark minions. Even before Allen joins their ranks, it is clear that there are many secrets to each side and to Allen himself. Allen is a positive lead who has a lot of charm about him; he is very honest and possesses a lot of heart. He isn’t the type of character who you forget about to concentrate on the support personalities. But he does have an electric group of people around him. The series utilizes everyone and the setting well, even pushing the grotesque monsters and violence pretty far at times. And it has a lot of mystery in the undercurrent which slowly reveals itself.
At just 22 volumes so far, D.Gray Man isn’t too much of a commitment compared to its brethren. (And VIZ is almost in line with the Japanese, releasing the 21st volume in November.) Within its pages is a solid journey that doesn’t drag and reveals its twists and turns in good time. Add in a good cast and artwork that begs to be looked at in detail and I find I can’t resist D.Gray Man.